Chicken with a tasty twist

Everybody loves chicken. What’s not to like? This chicken dish is special, with a bush-flavour twist. Invite some friends and prepare it ahead, to cook when they arrive, or just for the two of you. I have chosen chicken breast as it’s my favourite cut; however you could just as easily use thighs.

Chicken Mignon
2 very large chicken breast fillets
4 slices bacon (more meat than fat), cut short
6 ounces butter, softened
2 small cloves of garlic
3 to 4 tsp crushed field tomatoes
2 tsp grated parmesan
1 tsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Toothpicks or skewers

Preheat the oven to 370 F.

Place the butter, crushed garlic, crushed tomato, cheese, tomato paste and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and combine until you have a nice smooth butter mixture. Heat in a pan until the butter is melted and remove from stove.

Lay the chicken breasts on a chopping board and trim off excess fatty pockets. Shape each breast into as good a circle as you can. Wrap a piece of bacon around each side of the chicken so that they meet in the middle. Secure bacon by slotting two skewers on a diagonal, crossing in the middle. Trim the ends of the bacon. (You can use toothpicks or kitchen twine in place of skewers. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Using a small pallet knife or spoon divide the butter mixture among the chicken pieces, placing each portion on top and flattening it a little so that it spreads to the sides to touch the bacon wrapping.I like to make these the day before; once all have been covered I finish by wrapping the chicken mignon in foil and refrigerating overnight.

Sear the chicken in an ovenproof frying pan with a little oil before putting the chicken in the oven. If you do not have an ovenproof frying-pan transfer the chicken to an oven tray. Bake for approximately 20 to 35 minutes, depending on the size of your fillets.

Test by inserting the tip of a knife into the centre and feeling for heat on the tip when it is taken out. The cut will produce some liquid from the chicken which should run clear and not pink. The butter will melt, but some will solidify on the top making a lovely crust.

The chicken can be served according to your preference. I have served it on beds of smashed potato with cabbage and cauliflower, along with some asparagus.

Originally published on Lifestyles 55

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